From left, Crystal Dellavecchio, her son Elijah Brunson, her mother Maria Balttles and her sister-in-law Tracy Hutcherson pick up trash on East McGaffey, Saturday, as part of Great America Cleanup Day. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
The small group of four yellow T-shirt-wearing family members went mostly unnoticed by passers-by Saturday morning as they picked up garbage along the streets of southeast Roswell.
But for Crystal Dellavecchio who put together her team for Keep Roswell Beautiful Day, the effort was immensely important.
In just a few hours, the group filled 10 large, green plastic bags, found four discarded hypodermic needles, five razor blades, a used condom on church steps and “some sad poetry.”
“You would be amazed at what we found,” Dellavecchio said.
As a mother of a 6-year-old, Dellavecchio said the idea to begin cleaning the neighborhood of trash began two years ago. One day as she dropped her son off at Head Start, she said her son asked her why people throw so much trash on the ground.
“I said it was because they don’t care. And he said, ‘Well I care.” And I said I cared, too,” Dellavecchio said. “So we started picking up trash.”
Soon after, she found a used syringe near her son’s school.
“If I could make it just that little bit safer for them, if they don’t pick that stuff up, it’s worth it,” she said.
She and her son began their own small campaign of cleaning trash from alleyways and sidewalks in their neighborhood.
“We kind of clean up wherever we walk,” she said.
This year, Dellavecchio asked her sister-in-law Tracy Hutcherson, her mother Maria Battles, and her son, Elijah Brunson to pitch in as a team for Keep Roswell Beautiful, a program within the city that aims to beautify, reduce litter, remove graffiti and recycle. The program is affiliated with the national program, Keep America Beautiful.
Dellavecchio’s husband did his part by following along in a car behind the team and collecting the filled garbage bags.
The team started on South Atkinson Avenue at East Bland Street, walked to South Main Street and down East McGaffey Street.
No trash was left behind as they swept through the sidewalks, picking away at wrappers inside bushes and along fence lines.
“I kind of think it’s something good to do and to care about,” Delvecchio said.
Not many motorists or pedestrians stopped to help or ask questions. But one did hand them bottles of water, Hutcherson said.
Saturday’s Great America Cleanup happens each year in the spring and Toss No Mas occurs in the fall.
The Roswell program also allows residents to recycle all year at containers located in parking lots at Walmart, Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Target, Bureau of Land Management on West Second Street, Kmart, Lawrence Brothers IGA at Second and Union and Farmers Country Market on West Hobbs.